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*Official* CBA Negotiations and Lockout Thread

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Nooooo! That means more chances of Leafs making the Playoffs.

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To be fair, players didn't get 57% of "revenue", they got 57% of SOME revenue MINUS SOME costs known as "HRR." The owners specifically defined "HRR" to exclude some revenues (including, for example, the $60M paid to the NHL just for the right to relocate the Thrashers to Winnipeg) and to allow owners to deduct millions in costs BEFORE the players' share was determined. So, in reality players got around 51% of revenue last season.

Also, you will note that the players generated significantly more than 57% of the revenue. It's them playing we pay to see. It's their names we pay huge amounts to have sewn onto the back of an already overpriced jersey. It's their posters, signed pictures, growth charts, etc. that we pay to purchase. It's them people pay to go and see at fan events. It them people pay huge bucks to watch during the All Stars game.

And I absolutely think the owners are greedy because they get millions a year from taxpayers, starting with luxury tax breaks the likes of which other businesses that create far more jobs and actually help the local economy can only dream about. (If you're interested, look back in this thread and find the link to the research that's shown pro sports teams do not improve the local economy but might actually hurt it.) Some get arenas built for them at little or no cost to them while they get most of the profits. Some, including Phoenix and Florida, actually get taxpayers to pay them to keep their teams in town by giving them money to run the arena even though taxpayers get nothing in return but the bill for the loans to build it. (The mighty NHL, a registered not-for-profit in the US, if you can believe it, got paid $25M a year while they've owned the Coyotes to offset their costs for running the arena. In return, the taxpayers got to keep paying off the loans to build the arena. Oh, and politicians who just committed $308M more of taxpayers money over the next 20 years to keep the team in Arizona.)

Owners can whine to me about how much players are costing them when they stop costing taxpayers, even those who don't watch hockey, millions every single year at the expense of things that would actually help the community for their private profit.

So yes, private companies that make millions a year off of taxpayers are greedy. An organization, even by their own admission, that is in the "business of making money" that registers as a "not-for-profit" to save themselves tens of millions a year in taxes that any other business would have to pay, even as social safety nets are cut due to lack of funding, is greedy. Billionaires that get minimum wage taxpayers to foot the bill for their new arena they could have afforded to pay for out of their pocket change, while hospitals have to have charities just to be able to afford to upgrade their equipment, and cities (like Glendale) run deficits that result in blue collar people losing their jobs are greedy.

Maybe the players are greedy for wanting so much. That's a whole other debate to be honest. But at least what they want is just a part of they help to make, unlike the greedy owners who want yearly handouts from taxpayers when they had little or no part in generating that revenue.

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“@Real_ESPNLeBrun: Players remain sour over pension snag with league... Need to be resolved for any deal to get done”

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talks akin to defusing a bomb

For a second straight day, the National Hockey League met with its Players’ Association in an attempt to solve a lockout that has now stretched into 2013. For a second straight day one side carefully planned before a full session; for a second straight day that session was delayed so both sides could more fully prepare for it. And for a second straight day, one side — the league, this time — made a proposal.

“The fact that we’re involved in a continuous process is something that I’m glad to see,” said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. “But we’re clearly not done yet.” When asked if the gap between the two sides was narrowing, he said, “in our response there were certain things the players’ association asked for that we agreed to, there were some thing that we moved in their direction, and there were certain things where we said no.

“We’re trying to get an agreement.”

Both NHLPA executive Don Fehr and Bettman said they expected to meet again Wednesday, after the union had a chance to fully analyze the league’s proposal.

If there is going to be a new collective bargaining agreement, this is how it will proceed. They are handling this phase of negotiations like a bomb that needs to be carefully defused, wire by wire. Up until Tuesday, it went like this: The owners made a comprehensive offer to the players last week, and moved slightly on contract term limits, variance of salary increases from year to year, a few other things. It was comprehensively leaked to the media. The players went through it line by line, in concert with the NHL, clarifying and explaining, poking and prodding. This took three days. It was thorough.

Monday, the players presented a counter-proposal that moved slightly towards the owners, but the details were locked in a cone of silence; all the NHL would allow is that there was movement, and that gaps remained. The two sides met for about three hours, including breaks to talk amongst themselves, and parted with cautious words from their leaders to the media, who waited outside in the cold wind on Sixth Avenue. The league spent much of the next 24 hours going over that offer, in concert with the NHLPA. On Tuesday morning they exchanged information in smaller face-to-face meetings, or over conference calls conducted with the parties just a few blocks away.

A full bargaining session began Tuesday at NHL headquarters at 9 pm, several hours after it had been initially expected, and the league spent 45 minutes presenting its proposal.

Among the various issues, apparently pensions had become an issue again during afternoon meetings — previously it had been close to a done deal — but revenue sharing was close.

Beforehand, though, the proceedings were cloaked in a tentative and fragile sense of hope that there might be a path to a deal here. No details of the PA’s offer leaked out, which was a first over the course of these negotiations. With Bettman confirming the league’s Jan. 19 deadline for the beginning of a 48-game season — the minimum the NHL says it will support, and requiring a deal to be struck by Jan. 11 — the two sides appear to be proceeding with extreme care.

The last time the negotiations felt like this, of course, were back on Dec. 4 when deputy commissioner Bill Daly and union deputy Steve Fehr stood side-by-side at the end of the first day of direct player-owner talks. Two days later the talks exploded.

There is still room for that to happen, but the margin for error diminishes by the day. Players want a cap on escrow, to protect their paycheques in the event that revenues suffer in the wake of the league’s second lockout since 2004; the league has strongly opposed a cap on escrow. There remain other outstanding issues, though the financial basics are in place.

The players can also officially file for disclaimer of interest on Wednesday, which would introduce the possibility of antitrust law being brought to the table; aside from the mutually assured destruction of walking away from a season, the disclaimer of interest is seen as the biggest weapon the players have left. The league has expressed a willingness to continue negotiating should that occur, however.

There were always two big components of this process. One was the issues themselves, and how far apart the players and the league were; the other was the manner in which they negotiated, with Fehr purposefully refusing to use the league’s framework in his proposals. Both components were, and are, required to strike a deal.

What we have seen the past few days in New York has been a conciliatory tone on the process, and marginal progress on the issues. They are negotiating within the same basic framework, using common points. But even if these two sides refrain from the temptation of one more walk-away, one more dramatic exit from the stage, the gaps on the issues will require agreement. We have yet to see public optimism, though the occasional positive whisper has quietly floated around. A truce only lasts as long as it is better than the alternative. Still a ways to go.

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For sure, I'm done with optimism by now. Hence why I'm sticking with Meh over Yay to any news right now. For too long this has resembled children fighting in the sandbox, Bettman's "Collective bargaining is soooo hard" quotes be damned.

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Lots of industries that create large amounts of employment, economic spinoff and civic pride get tax breaks at the municipal, state/provincial and federal levels. Just go back to 2008 and look at all the very profitable corporations that received giant bailouts to keep the economy fluid. Some of those industries, auto manufacturing for example, also have very contentious labour disputes.

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@DarrenDreger

Overall pension debate evolves around complex differences. 2 sides hoping to meet around 8pm.

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Aren't you conveniently forgetting the fact that the auto industry bailouts were loans that they have to repay? And that the auto industry had been struggling significantly for years and that the bailouts came only when it got so bad 2 of the big 3 companies had to file for bankruptcy, unlike the NHL who has had years of record revenue? And that following the bailout loans, the auto companies made major changes to their business models rather than just demanding their employees take less and have fewer rights to offset management's bad decisions?

As for that other industry that got an absolutely sickening bailout from taxpayers....well, if you want to compare the NHL to Wall Street, go ahead. You wouldn't be doing them any favours though.

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- the politicans who participate in arena development and cut deals with NHL developers to put up more than just a ice surface. Why do they do that if 'everyone' knows the greedy NHL owner is ripping them off? The only tough minded council I have seen has been Edmonton. Hamilton on the other hand couldn't even wait for a team. Owners usually get 'deals' becuase their arenas become focal points in further developments which the city's benefit from.

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You can see my loooong post above for more about the auto industry, but really it doesn't compare to the NHL in any way. We're not talking about a giant industry or business employing hundreds of thousands of people going out of business. At worst, teams not getting luxury tax breaks would just make them move. Being that teams don't generate that many local jobs anyway it's not really a big deal and certainly not comparable to the auto industry upon which entire towns were dependent.

In the same post I also talked too about how the NHL, and as you hinted at, all pro sports teams, use fan attachment as blackmail leverage. That does not make it right and it certainly does not mean that sports teams are not taking more out of the local economy than they are putting in simply because some of us are so emotionally attached to them.

And revenues don't always equate to profits and because most sports organizations are privately held you and I will never get to see what those profits really are.

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The NHL and NHLPA have wrapped up a one-hour meeting in which the players' union gave a response to the league's latest offer. The league is going to review the latest information from the players, and meetings are expected to continue on Wednesday evening at around 8pm et in New York. The players have until midnight tonight to file a disclaimer of interest to effectively dissolve their union if they wish.
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You can see my loooong post above for more about the auto industry, but really it doesn't compare to the NHL in any way. We're not talking about a giant industry or business employing hundreds of thousands of people going out of business. At worst, teams not getting luxury tax breaks would just make them move. Being that teams don't generate that many local jobs anyway it's not really a big deal and certainly not comparable to the auto industry upon which entire towns were dependent.

In the same post I also talked too about how the NHL, and as you hinted at, all pro sports teams, use fan attachment as blackmail leverage. That does not make it right and it certainly does not mean that sports teams are not taking more out of the local economy than they are putting in simply because some of us are so emotionally attached to them.

Exactly. But if they don't want to show their books, they shouldn't get to ask for public handouts. The "you gotta give to get" rule should apply to them as equally as it does the rest of us. It's absolutely ridiculous someone asking for welfare should have to show more financial information than a billionaire asking for hundreds of millions for their private profit!

And that's just the godawful truth. :(

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I don't think the disclaimer of interest will have much impact in their decisions. They're too close to getting a deal done to take that action now. No judge would side with them, because the NHL is showing that it's willing to bargain now.

That's all the disclaimer was meant to be used for. It was meant to get the NHL back to the bargaining table, and start negotiating seriously.

And plus, the disclaimer can still be filed after today. I don't know why some media types have latched onto the idea that it can't be filed after today. All they would have to do is take another vote, and file it.

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